By Julee Cobb
Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is expanding its degree options with a new offering for individuals interested in teaching technology at the high school level.
A Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a technology education endorsement is being launched at Kansas State Polytechnic in fall 2018. The degree option is a collaboration with the university’s College of Education and is designed to help address state and national needs for more science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, educators. Enrolled students will study mechanical, electronic and computer systems curriculum through Kansas State Polytechnic’s engineering technology program while the education pedagogy will be supported by the College of Education.
“The mission of the Polytechnic Campus is to provide students with relevant, hands-on learning experiences that are easily transferable to various industries, and we believe technology education is an appropriate fit for our mission and that style of teaching,” said Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of Kansas State Polytechnic. “We also are proud to offer a degree option where students can study an in-demand career field that directly contributes to the solution of a national education and economic concern. Thank you to the College of Education for partnering with Kansas State Polytechnic to make this offering possible.”
Along with general education courses, the technology education degree option combines 67 credit hours of mechanical engineering technology, computer systems technology, and electronic and computer engineering technology courses with 35 hours of professional pedagogical courses. To fulfill the technology content requirements, students will learn from Kansas State Polytechnic professors about such topics as basic electronics, computing principles, hardware and software fundamentals, machine design and manufacturing methods. Many of the courses include lab time and project-based assignments, so students will have a better understanding of the material and can use hands-on demonstrations in their own classrooms.
The secondary education curriculum will be taught through video conferencing by professors from the College of Education with plans to hire faculty members on the Polytechnic Campus as the degree grows. Students also will get the opportunity to teach at a local high school for one semester and will earn their official licensure upon completion of the bachelor’s degree and passing of the state Praxis test.
“The College of Education produces more teachers than any of the other 24 teacher training programs in Kansas and we are excited to work with the Polytechnic Campus to expand upon those numbers in this new licensure area,” said F. Todd Goodson, chair of the curriculum and instruction department at Kansas State University. “It is difficult to overstate the importance of technology today. We have a pressing need to produce more high school graduates with advanced technology skills to meet the demands of industry and higher education. I expect graduates of the technology education degree to find high schools eager to consider them for teaching positions.”
In the past several years, national initiatives and jobs reports have outlined the necessity for more STEM education. Kansas State University’s College of Education is a partner in the 100Kin10 network, which was created in 2011 after President Barack Obama issued a call to add 100,000 STEM teachers across the country over the next 10 years. The group includes more than 280 academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies and government agencies in the United States that have committed to help lead the charge. Most recently, the Trump administration echoed this urgency by directing the Education Department in September to invest a minimum of $200 million annually in grant funding to further develop STEM and computer science education.
Alysia Starkey, associate dean for undergraduate studies at Kansas State Polytechnic, says there are a variety of prospective students who would fit well in the technology education degree option. High school students with an interest in teaching or who excel in engineering technology classes such as manufacturing, construction, energy, power and technical design should consider enrolling. Also, transfer students and current teachers who want to change their endorsement are encouraged to apply.
“The Kansas Department of Education added technology education to its list of approved teaching endorsements because the department wanted to contribute to the state’s STEM education needs,” Starkey said. “This means there are numerous current teachers out there who may already instruct a few technology classes but will want to get an official endorsement in that area, or some who may want to change their endorsement completely because the technology field is booming. It is an exciting time for those who love teaching and we are glad to be a part of it.”
Enrollment in the technology education degree option is now open. For more information about how to apply, contact Kansas State Polytechnic’s admissions office at 785-826-2640 or email@example.com or Kansas State University’s Center for Student and Professional Services at 785-532-5524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.